How is OCD treated?

  • The most effective psychological treatment for OCD is cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), with the incorporation of exposure and response prevention therapy (ERPT). The person with OCD is taught how to expose themselves to feared situation(s) without performing mental or behavioural actions. Such treatment can reduce or eliminate the obsessions and/or rituals and has been found to demonstrate superior effectiveness to medication. Additionally the benefits of CBT are usually maintained better over the long term
  • Other psychological treatments used incorporate education about OCD, advice to resist carrying out compulsions, anxiety management assistance, counselling, and/or assistance with making lifestyle and personality changes. However, these have not been found to be as effective as CBT with ERPT. Family involvement in therapy is sometimes helpful, especially if family members help the person with OCD carry out the rituals
  • Preliminary evidence suggests that CBT delivered in group and internet-based formats is also effective
  • The most effective medication for OCD is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs) antidepressants; however, treatment gains are modest and usually only persist while the medication is taken. In some cases, medication for partial symptom relief, through SSRIs or tricyclic antidepressants, can help people feel more willing to give CBT with ERPT a go